[tabi] FW: News Clips -- July 9, 2014

  • From: Stacia Woolverton <Stacia.Woolverton@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "TABI (TABI@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)" <TABI@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2014 15:19:12 +0000

I thought you all would be interested in this article.


Stacia Woolverton
Agency for Persons With Disabilities
4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 235
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Toll Free: 1-866-273-2273
Email: Stacia.Woolverton@xxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:Stacia.Woolverton@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

Looking for disability related resources in your community?
Check out APD's Resource Directory & Events 

From: Lindsey Boyington
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 11:03 AM
To: APD-All-Users
Subject: News Clips -- July 9, 2014

This Ring Reads Books And Magazines To The Blind

Video --> 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people 
whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to 
printed words.
The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a 
ring on the user's finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A 
synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant 
menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or 
Reading is as easy as pointing the finger at text. Special software tracks the 
finger movement, identifies words and processes the information. The device has 
vibration motors that alert readers when they stray from the script, said Roy 
Shilkrot, who is developing the device at the MIT Media Lab.
For Jerry Berrier, 62, who was born blind, the promise of the FingerReader is 
its portability and offer of real-time functionality at school, a doctor's 
office and restaurants.
"When I go to the doctor's office, there may be forms that I wanna read before 
I sign them," Berrier said.
He said there are other optical character recognition devices on the market for 
those with vision impairments, but none that he knows of that will read in real 
Berrier manages training and evaluation for a federal program that distributes 
technology to low-income people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island who have lost 
their sight and hearing. He works from the Perkins School for the Blind in 
Watertown, Massachusetts.
"Everywhere we go, for folks who are sighted, there are things that inform us 
about the products that we are about to interact with. I wanna be able to 
interact with those same products, regardless of how I have to do it," Berrier 
Pattie Maes, an MIT professor who founded and leads the Fluid Interfaces 
research group developing the prototype, says the FingerReader is like "reading 
with the tip of your finger and it's a lot more flexible, a lot more immediate 
than any solution that they have right now."
Developing the gizmo has taken three years of software coding, experimenting 
with various designs and working on feedback from a test group of visually 
impaired people. Much work remains before it is ready for the market, Shilkrot 
said, including making it work on cellphones.
Shilkrot said developers believe they will be able to affordably market the 
FingerReader but he could not yet estimate a price. The potential market 
includes some of the 11.2 million people in the United States with vision 
impairment, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
Current technology used in homes and offices offers cumbersome scanners that 
must process the desired script before it can be read aloud by 
character-recognition software installed on a computer or smartphone, Shilkrot 
said. The FingerReader would not replace Braille - the system of raised dots 
that form words, interpreted by touch. Instead, Shilkrot said, the new device 
would enable users to access a vast number of books and other materials that 
are not currently available in Braille.
Developers had to overcome unusual challenges to help people with visual 
impairments move their reading fingers along a straight line of printed text 
that they could not see. Users also had to be alerted at the beginning and end 
of the reading material.
Their solutions? Audio cues in the software that processes information from the 
FingerReader and vibration motors in the ring.
The FingerReader can read papers, books, magazines, newspapers, computer 
screens and other devices, but it has problems with text on a touch screen, 
said Shilkrot.
That's because touching the screen with the tip of the finger would move text 
around, producing unintended results. Disabling the touch-screen function 
eliminates the problem, he said.
Berrier said affordable pricing could make the FingerReader a key tool to help 
people with vision impairment integrate into the modern information economy.
"Any tool that we can get that gives us better access to printed material helps 
us to live fuller, richer, more productive lives, Berrier said.

Lindsey Boyington
Communications Coordinator
Agency for Persons with Disabilities
4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 380
Tallahassee, FL 32399

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This message and any attachments are for the sole use 
of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged 
information that is exempt from public disclosure. Any unauthorized review, 
use, disclosure, or distribution is prohibited. If you have received this 
message in error please contact the sender (by phone or reply electronic mail) 
and then destroy all copies of the original message.

Other related posts:

  • » [tabi] FW: News Clips -- July 9, 2014 - Stacia Woolverton